Zack & Nick's Culture Cast

Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!

The Legend of Midget Joe

I came across this the other day.  It is so completely absurd, yet all true that I had to share it with our readers.

First, some background.  Comic books created in the 1930s and ’40s are generally considered to be a part of the “Golden Age”.  The character of The Flash was created during this time, but he was a very different incarnation from how he is known today.  Back then, he was Jay Garrick and he wore a very off-the-rack costume highlighted by a Mercury-styled helmet.

Okay, that’s out of the way.

Thanks to an article posted over at Speed Force, I learned of a Flash villain from this era.  Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce you to Midget Joe!

This is a real character.

This is a real character.

I needed to learn more about this character.  Unfortunately, there was little I could find online.  From what I could gather, Midget Joe is a little person who commits crimes while pretending to be a kid.  Yes, this is the exact premise of the Wayans Brothers’ film Little Man.

I did more looking and came across Midget Joe’s first appearance (yes, this character inexplicably appeared more than once) in Flash Comics #45 (1943).  Here is the summary for that story (courtesy of the DC Comics Database):

Jay wins a baby in a raffle and it immediately becomes a headache for himself [trying to explain it to Joan], and to the Flash, when the baby turns out to be a midget crook!

Oh, where to begin with this?  I love the casual use of the word “midget”.  Eh, it was a different time.  More amazingly, I love how this story apparently starts with Jay winning a baby in a raffle.  Wha…WHAT?!  How does that…can that happen?!

Comics, everybody!

I need to track this story down and read it in its entirety to see how all the absurdity plays out.  I can’t imagine it being anything short of amazing.

Also, congrats to Speed Force on their five year anniversary!



One response to “The Legend of Midget Joe

  1. Kelson June 19, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    Thank you!

    “The Magic of Super-Speed” was one of the comics I picked up during the years I was buying any Golden Age Flash comic I could find for under $20 (or whatever my price limit was). I remember thinking it weird at the time, but when I found out about Midget Joe’s first appearance…that was bizarre. I had basically the same reaction you did (complete with comparing it to “Little Man”).

    I did eventually see a copy, and the situation made marginally more sense in context, though I can’t remember how.

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